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I was lost for words last night!


Brent
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I had set myself a target for this weekend which was to find my first galaxies - M81/M82.

Having previously viewed M42 on my second outing with the scope 3 weeks ago, I was finding it difficult to locate anything else in the next 5 outings (although Saturn more than came to the rescue on those evenings :hello2:). It is safe to say that I was starting to worry that the light pollution was too great to really see anything from my back garden, or that I wasn't capable of finding them!

Last night however, everything changed.

I completed set up at 9pm and then went inside for a couple of hours to allow the scope to cool.

When I went back out, I decided that as Vega was well above the neighbours house M57 would hopefully be my first target, (and my wife was hoping to see it before she went to bed). With the naked eye I couldn't see any other Lyra stars, and so struggled for 50 minutes. I think a lower power eyepiece may help me here. I gave up to give it a chance to rise further and instead slewed my scope to the general region of Bodes.

I had attempted this on previous evenings by star hopping and had failed dismally. Using the 25mm I aimed where I knew it should be and there was M81, M82 just out of FOV! To say I was gobsmacked is an undertstatement - I danced around the garden like a loon! I really do think I was in the right place last time, but the seeing last night was just exceptional.

After an hour I was eager to try my luck with M57 again before it disappeared behind my tree. I could now see Sheliak and Sulafat with the naked eye, pointed the scope, and there was M57! I was jumping around the garden again, lol. The best view was with the 25mm and the 2x barlow, averted. I was amazed to see what was either a meteor or an iridium flare (was the sun too far gone for it to be this?) flash right across the FOV and timestamped it at 1:53am. I have to admit that I welled up at that point.

On a roll, I went after M13, another failure on previous nights. I didn't bother to star hop again, aimed two thirds of the way between Vega and Arcturus, and up a bit :D. It took a few minutes of spiralling the scope but I found it eventually and with averted vision I do believe I could even pick out a couple of individual stars.

It really was an awesome night that I will remember for the rest of my life. My wife was gutted when I told her what I had seen but sadly it was work today for her and an early bed :mad:. I'm sure she'll be out with me in the near future though (and my daughter on a weekend).

On a separate note, I am a little unsure after collimating for the first time a couple of days ago. On the star test the concentric circles seemed perfect on one side of focus, but close together on one side on the other side of focus - I think I will have to have another go.

I can't wait for my modified webcam to arrive now - and I hate to spend more money at the moment but I'm afraid I will have to buy a polar scope too! :rolleyes:

Apologies for the super long post but I just had to share my excitement!

Edited by Brent
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Sounds like a great night. Nice report. M81/82 looked awesome on Sat night in my 10", was tempted to do a dance too hehe. For M13, it's even easier if you learn/find the 'keystone' shape of Hercules (like a distorted square). It's roughly 3/4 of the way up between the two right hand stars of the keystone. See second image on this guide

Between Vega and Arcturus there's a whole lot of sky! ;-)

Cheers

Matt

Edited by Vega
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I wonder what your neighbours think of the strange man next door who dances around a large telescope at midnight :D

Yeah, like me at my first sight of Saturn a few days ago.

A man who lives nearby is a police-officer and he was walking

his dog at that moment and he came by the backgarden to

ask who that man in our dark backyard was :hello2:

Nice new hobby, but for "outsiders" it seems very strange....

Anyway, congrats Brent with those marvelous views, hope I

will be able to say that too soon :rolleyes:

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Thanks all :rolleyes:

I wonder what your neighbours think of the strange man next door who dances around a large telescope at midnight :hello2:

aah, you've met me then, lol.... to be honest they are nice people but have two terrible paranoia lights which stay lit ALL night. The fence between us is slatted so I have to set up on the paving against the house (the lawn is 3 foot higher), and tack cardboard to the fence to block the light out. The rest of the garden is pretty much floodlit :p Didn't seem to matter much last night anyway :mad:

For M13, it's even easier if you learn/find the 'keystone' shape of Hercules (like a distorted square). It's roughly 3/4 of the way up between the two right hand stars of the keystone. See second image on this guide

Between Vega and Arcturus there's a whole lot of sky! ;-)

Matt

Thanks for the link, nice site :p I know I should really star hop to M13 but couldn't remember exactly where it was and didn't want to ruin my night vision going to look. A lot of Hercules is obscured by my tree until about 3am so I had to pretty much wing it and was lucky!

We're thinking of getting rid of the tree though - it will give her indoors some room for decking but, much more importantly, will vastly increase my views to the East :D (I will feel a bit guilty though).

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"an awesome night that I will remember for the rest of my life"

those words say it all.

the first time i saw Saturn i felt that and guess what it does stay with you.

There will be other good nights but the feeling from that night will be hard to beat.

those word from you at the top will give so much encouragement to all new astronomers thanks for sharing

Edited by GJBC
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Nicely done! that is some exceptional stargazing, so far I have only seen Saturn and Titan in the 1 week I've had my scope, I was mildly exited about seeing Saturn as I had seen it before but am still exited about seeing Titan and that was 4 days ago now!

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Have used my SW127 mainly at planets,moon, M42 M31 etc..But have had no success with the fainter fuzzies, until Friday night when I found M3, it gives a great sense of achievement especially if you hav'nt used the goto. M81/82 still a target, I'll nail them when we go to N Wales at easter, if it don't rain.

Geoff

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Great write up Brent, gives me a little reassurance that i too can see DSO's with my 150p, although im sure i spotted M108 and M97 the other night. But maybe it was my imagination! they were just smudges as everyone else talks about..

Thanks

Jay

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I wonder what your neighbours think of the strange man next door who dances around a large telescope at midnight :)

Hope he wasn't naked :p

On topic, Congrats for finding m81/m82, I've yet to find a a galaxy, Only the M42 so far. Really want to find Andromeda Galaxy though. Eventually just eventually, I will :p

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